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ECONOMICS OF BRUCELLOSIS

From the perspective of the Livestock industry, losses in production are ultimately equivalent to losses in profit, but the costs of losses in profit are nothing compared to the potential cost to the entire state of losing their brucellosis-free status. Costs, therefore, may be immediate (production losses) or long-term (losses to the state/ranchers). Furthermore, producers selling cattle on international and national markets must comply with strict brucellosis-related importation requirements already. Costs to producers who participate in the National Eradication Program are less in states classified as brucellosis-free (MT, WY, ID):

Immediate (production losses): 

        Calf production is reduced in affected cattle herds as a result of abortions in infected females. 

        Infections may reduce overall herd fertility; if infected females do not end up spontaneously aborting, the calves they do give birth to may be weak, unhealthy or themselves infected. 

        Production of milk is reduced in affected herds  

 

Long-Term (costs to state and ranchers): 

        Disease surveillance 

        Vaccination 

        Herd quarantine/management 

        Blood testing of suspect herds 

        Slaughter of positive-testing and infected animals 

        Further restrictions on cattle sales in national and international markets: 

The Secretary of Agriculture has given regulations providing a system for classifying states or areas, herds and individual animals with respect to brucellosis-status. States or portions of states are classified according to their rate of brucella infection present in livestock and the effectiveness of their brucellosis eradication program. 

Classifications: 

Class free 

Class A: Restrictions on the movement of cattle and bison between states are more severe for this class than from "class free" states

Class B

Class C: States that fail to meet minimum standards for this class may be placed under federal quarantine

Since 1935, over $10.7 billion has been spent on eradication efforts by livestock industry, states and the federal government combined. States surrounding Yellowstone have felt threatened by the possible infection of brucellosis in cattle in their herds by free-ranging bison. Although there has never been a single documented case of transmission in the wild, the potential costs seem to outweigh the facts to many people.

Montana:

  • Feds rent parcels of forests in Montana, bordering YNP during summer for domestic cattle grazing. The government spends 100 times the revenue it receives ($5,000/yr. From cattle grazing) to help MT with containment (building pens) which costs $500,000/yr.

PIE CHART HERE

STATS PAGE HERE

Wyoming:

  • Reacted initially by getting all of their cattle properly vaccinated

Idaho

For information on Brucellosis in Idaho:
Phill Mamer, State Veterinarian
DVM Boise, Idaho

pmamer@agri.state.id.us

For a better understanding of the Economics of Brucellosis, see our maps section